Blog round-up: Water and drought on TV; State’s ecosystems face a flood of changes; Faux Latino grassroots groups; The Coming Groundwater Revolution; Water rationing will never end; and more …

Mt. Shasta in 2008; Photo by Jonathon Mueller

Mt. Shasta in 2008; Photo by Jonathon Mueller

California water and drought on the TV box: Faith Kearns writes, “I’m a television watcher — or more accurately, a watcher of what passes for TV these days: streaming things onto various screens. What can I say? I adore pop culture and I work pretty hard with my brain all day and sometimes it likes to rest on entirely brainless things.  But, here’s where my worlds are colliding. The thing I tire my brain out on all day is water. And, more and more, water is showing up on TV. As much as I try to ignore it, it’s been super interesting to see how far the California drought is oozing into the deepest reaches of our psyches, at least as reflected in everything from family dramas to reality shows. ... ”  Read more at the Science Unicorn here:  California water and drought on the TV box

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State’s ecosystems face a flood of changes:  Lori Pottinger writes, “With El Niño making an impressive new year’s debut, talk of drought has turned to worries about floods. How will the state’s drought-starved ecosystems adapt to the taps being turned on again? We talked with Joshua Viers, an ecological engineer at UC Merced and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network, about California ecosystems’ response to flooding.  PPIC: Are floods “natural disasters” for nature?  Josh Viers: Disturbances like floods, droughts, and fire are regular features in California, and our ecosystems are fairly well adapted to these extreme events. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  State’s ecosystems face a flood of changes

Science takes flight: Aerial imagery provides new opportunities and insights: Devon Lambert writes, “Remote sensing is all the rage as we start the New Year, largely due to its ability to exponentially increase our areas of analysis for research. What used to take us weeks to survey with traditional field methods can be done in as little as a few hours, sometimes without even leaving our desks. As a result, we’re gaining insight to areas where we used to have little more than questions.  Remote sensing can be done with anything from a drone to a satellite, all producing images that you can then analyze to help answer your question of interest. As new technologies develop and image resolution improves, we are beginning to learn just how many possibilities there are for using imagery data within our research. One new and exciting use for this data is in vegetation classification. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Science takes flight: Aerial imagery provides new opportunities and insights

Faux Latino grassroots groups; paying subsidence damages:  On the Public Record writes, “I very much enjoyed this New York Times story on how Westlands Water District is funding faux Latino grassroots groups to advocate for breaking environmental laws to deliver more water to their huge farms.  I had two main thoughts about the story … ”  Read more from On the Public Record here:  Faux Latino grassroots groups; paying subsidence damages 

In case you missed it:  If you enjoy On the Public Record, you won’t want to miss the LA Times article: How an anonymous blogger stands out on California water policy

The Coming Groundwater Revolution:  Lori Pottinger writes, “Pumping extra groundwater has gotten many California farmers through this drought, and if managed well, it can help the state weather future dry periods. Groundwater is our most important drought reserve, but overuse is a serious problem in some regions. We talked to Thomas Harter—a groundwater expert at UC Davis and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center’s research network—about managing groundwater for the long term. PPIC: What are some of the biggest challenges for California’s groundwater management? Thomas Harter: Farmers are facing a lot of change. They have to address new laws on groundwater use and water quality. The agricultural community uses by far the most groundwater but has never been asked to actively manage and protect it. It’s a fundamentally new world, and it will take time for the industry to adjust. … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  The Coming Groundwater Revolution

Water rationing will never end:  Bruce Frohman writes, “As of this month, the San Joaquin Valley has survived a four year drought. Even if the dry spell ends, area residents will never see an end to water rationing.  When construction of our local water delivery system started in the 1870’s, the spring runoff seemed limitless. As time passed, the water system was expanded via dams and canals. The Modesto Irrigation District secured rights to water supplies long before other parts of the state. ... ”  Read more from the The Valley Citizen here:  Water rationing will never end

Could coastal desalination efforts help farmers?  Todd Fitchette writes: “While San Diego could soon lose its NFL franchise, the county can at least boast the nation’s largest desalination plant in marketing literature. … When it comes to water for a thirsty state, desalination has long been argued as a way to help California, though the process is said to be costly and energy intensive.  Some time ago I attended a meeting in San Diego where various new technologies were discussed in the context of how technology itself is generally becoming better and more cost-effective.  … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press blog here:  Could coastal desalination efforts help farmers?

California urban water management plan updates: Planning for growth in an uncertain environment:  Jeff Simonetti writes, “California received some good preliminary news last week following the initial snow surveys for water year 2016. Unlike last spring’s snow survey at which Governor Jerry Brown stood on a bare field, this year’s first survey showed more promise. The survey found 54.7 inches of snow at the Phillips Station plot, about 16 inches more than the average depth measured there since 1965. The snow had 16.3 inches of water content, 136% of the average for that site. However, while the initial snow survey represents a good start, state water officials warned that we are still facing drought conditions, and the precipitation during the remainder of the winter will determine if the drought will break. Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program said, “Clearly, this is much better that it was last year at this time, but we haven’t had the full effect of the El Niño yet. If we believe the forecasts, then El Niño is supposed to kick in as we move through the rest of the winter. That will be critical when it comes to looking at reservoir storage.” ... ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here:  California urban water management plan updates: Planning for growth in an uncertain environment

Last word on water hyacinth:  Alex Brietler writes, “Enviro Bill Jennings says I missed the mark in my recent stories dishing out blame for the hyacinth problem.  In a nutshell: We’re all at fault, he says.  While the stories focused in part on the bureaucratic difficulties in spraying the weed, Jennings says we should work toward preventing these outbreaks in the first place by reducing nutrient loads in the Delta. … ”  Read more from Alex Breitler’s blog here:  Last word on water hyacinthDaily emails

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About the Blog Round-up: The Blog Round-up is a weekly journey through the wild and varied tapestry of blog commentary, incorporating the good, the bad, the ugly, and sometimes just plain bizarre viewpoints existing on the internet. Viewpoints expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily my own; inclusion of items here does not imply my endorsement of their positions. Items are chosen to express a wide range of viewpoints, and are added at the editor’s discretion. While posts with obvious factual errors are excluded, please note that no attempt is made on my part to verify or fact check the information bloggers present, so caveat emptor – let the buyer beware.

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